Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tis the Season for Report Cards

'Tis the season for shopping, decorating and cramming for those all-important exams if you're still in school. In the world of television, your favorite shows are always trying to make the grade. Today, PTR takes a look at some of our favorites and how they're faring this season. Some are having the season of their lives while others are struggling just to pass. Of course, TruBlu, Turtlemama and I found it only necessary to sort it all out and let you know where some of your faves land in the bell curve. Here's the first part of this year's Midseason Report Card.

Cold Case - (CBS) What a difference a season, new showrunner and new writers make! Last season, I was hanging onto this show out of loyalty to it and star Kathryn Morris, but this season Sunday at 9 p.m. (or 9:15, 9:30 or whatever time football pushes it to) is my favorite hour of television. First rate cases, intriguing, unobtrusive personal stories, chemistry and energy that this show has been missing since its first season, and a touching scene between Lilly and Scotty thrown in for good measure are giving us the definition of a show firing on all cylinders. Room For Improvement... Honestly, there's little to improve on. We can always stand for more Lilly since she's the heart and soul of the show, but basically, just keep on keepin' on. GRADE: A

Without a Trace - (CBS) Call it "A Tale of Two Crime Dramas" because while Cold Case is having its best season ever, Without a Trace is struggling just to get by this season. The show has become so formulaic, and yet, too personal at the same time (don't ask me how they have managed to pull that one off). Every missing person seems to leave on their own, so why don't they call their loved ones and let them know that they're OK?? Right, because then there would be no FBI involvement, and hence, no show. Jack's love life was a non-starter that fizzled quickly and ended with the typical Hollywood pregnancy loose end fix. The rest of the cast is deeply underused. Room For Improvement... More variety in cases, more personal growth for characters not named Jack, and more moving writing. This show needs to re-watch season 1 and figure out what made it so special. Stop wasting Marianne Jean-Baptiste! Status: Full season order. GRADE: C (and I'm being generous)

Heroes - (NBC) When it comes to so-called "intrigue shows," this one gets it right. While striking the right balance between keeping us guessing and giving us information, Heroes manages to give us fun characters, envy-worthy powers and a classic battle between good and evil with just the right amount of gray area thrown in. After such a generic pilot, it's hard to believe that this series has turned out to be one of the most original shows on television. There's a reason it's this season's most watched new entry. Room For Improvement... Tweaking with this winning formula would only damage the show. Just keep doing what you're doing! GRADE: A

Desperate Housewives - (ABC) After a lackluster sophomore season, Desperate Housewives revived itself this year with some interesting story lines. Although the marriage between Bree and Orson was a little forced, it has proven itself to be rather intriguing. Orson seemed to be a bad guy, then maybe he wasn’t….then he was, then wasn’t. Then we saw his mother, and after her involvement, we’re all intrigued as to what the second half will bring. The other ladies have had some rather snooze-worth story lines. I’m sure that we’re all sick of Susan’s man troubles and her ping-pong relationship with Mike and another man (this season it’s Ian). Poor Edie is always thrown into stories with Susan; Edie as second fiddle to Susan has gotten a bit boring. Lynnette’s storylines had promise with the neighborhood pervert, but that ended rather abruptly and we’re left hanging with nothing to look forward to. Gabby and Carlos are also on the "Who? Oh yeah" list. Especially after their baby story line ended rather abruptly. I’m a little disappointed in the lack of story lines with all of these characters, but I hold on to my hope that Marc Cherry and his merry band of writers will come through in the New Year. Room For Improvement... Let’s have a few more story lines that will hold our interest and when they do hold our interest, let’s not abruptly end them and leave the viewers thinking, “What? That’s it? A big storyline like that and you just wrap it all up in one night!?” Give the characters more credit and get them INVOLVED with one another and with their own independent stories. Lately ‘Housewives’ has seemed a little weak, almost as if the writers don’t trust the actors to handle great story lines. The actors had some awesome story lines in the first season, we know they can do it! GRADE: B-

My Name is Earl - (NBC) Funny comedies are sort of a rarity these days, so when you find one that is, keep watching! Earl has managed to carry over its first season success to its sophomore year with more crazy list antics and the same funny characters. But, it just wrapped the first half of its second year with its funniest episode so far this season. Earl's fear of flying and Joy's chill pill are some of the best scenes on any comedy all year! Like Scrubs, this show's strong sense of heart is what grounds it and gives it the balance that makes it one of TV's best. Room For Improvement... More Joy, Randy and Mr. Turtle. There's a reason Jaime Pressly received an Emmy nomination. With these three, the laughs don't stop. GRADE: A-

That's a look at the first part of PTR's Midseason Report Cards. Be sure to tune in tomorrow to find out how Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, Friday Night Lights and more are faring this season. What do you think about Part 1? Do you agree or disagree? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

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Scooter McGavin said...

You're a little generous with the Heroes grade cosidering it has some o the worst acting and the the split personality storyline has become a complete bore. I'd give it a C+.

Anonymous said...

100% agreement on the Cold Case grade. The show has really impressed me. You know I all but left it at the end of last season, and I feel no loyalty toward my ex-fave character either, BUT the fascinating storylines and excellent writing have kept me hooked. Excellent going, Veena & co!
WAT... I haven't watched more than 2 or 3 episodes, so I hadn't noticed how weak it had become. Maybe 'cause they already know they only got one season left and feel it's not worth their effort? Seems like a pretty shoity attitude to have IMHO. But oh well.

I haven't really watched any of the others. But thanks for doing this. :)

The Woman at the Clinic

suekola44 said...

I agree with you on WAT. They really are wasting some great characters and I'm bored with Jack's personal life. And the cases this year do all seem to walk away on their own.